CORK County Council has ruled out purchasing the €3.5m dockyard site in Passage West despite councillors describing the site as the “key” to redeveloping the town which is struggling economically.
County chief executive, Tim Lucey, has said the council “does not have an interest” in the site, while corporate services director, Niall Healy, said the local authority had already passed on buying the site in March 2016 when it was being offered on the open market for €2.5m, describing the costs as “prohibitive.”
“My understanding is this position has not changed,” said Mr Healy.
“The 2017 Local Area Plan recognised the importance that this site can play in the development of the town.
“Any planning application for the development of the site will have to comply with the objectives of the Local Area Plan,” he added.
The eight-acre site is being offered on the open market for a €3.5m guide price.
It contains several hundred metres of road frontage, three access points and six terraced houses encompassed in a stone wall boundary. The site was purchased in the early 2000s but then sold to the Doyle shipping group for €2.75m, having previously been bought for €25m by Howard Holdings.
Councillors have said the site has the potential to transform Passage West.
Michael ‘Frick’ Murphy (SF), who submitted a motion on the matter for discussion at County Hall, said the town cannot be developed to its full potential while the dockyard is in private ownership.
Eoghan Jeffers (SF) added: “Dereliction is up to 10%. This dockyard is extremely crucial to Passage. We need real regeneration. This is probably the only thing we can do to turn the town’s fortunes around.”
Mr Jeffers said seeking funding from the European Investment Bank could be an option to reduce the cost to the local authority.
Cllr Marcia D’Alton added the site is one of the last few waterfront developmental sites in the lower harbour.
“Since the dockyard closed the town has never really recovered. It’s not a huge amount of money, it previously cost €25m, it then sold for under €3m. The taxpayer beared the cost of that shortfall. It now offers extremely good value.”